Zero-Game Goalies: Daniel Altshuller

Photo by Jamie Kellner
[Photo Credit: Jamie Kellner]

We’re starting a new, semi-regular feature on Puck Junk called “Zero-Game Goalies,” where we take a look at hockey goalies who got an NHL trading card, but never played in an NHL game. This phenomenon occurs when a goalie gets called up from the minors to be the backup goalie for an NHL team, but never sets foot on the ice during the game. Just being on the bench as a backup qualifies a goalie for inclusion in a set of NHL trading cards, so from time to time you come across a trading card of such a goalie and ask, “Who is this guy?” 

Today’s zero-game goalie is Daniel Altshuller, who was a backup for the Carolina Hurricanes. 

If you’ve never heard of Daniel Altshuller, you are not alone. I hadn’t heard of him either until I came across this 2016-17 O-Pee-Chee “Marquee Rookies” rookie card of him. Actually, this is a Black Rainbow shiny parallel, serial-numbered on the back 023 / 100. 

Daniel Altshuller’s 2016-17 O-Pee-Chee rookie card (Black Rainbow variant). Click here to see the card back. 

Altshuller has his own page on the NHL.com website, but he doesn’t have any stats. I was intrigued to learn more about this goalie with no games, so here is what I found out. Altshuller was drafted by the ‘Canes in the third round (69th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but spent the next two seasons with his junior team, the Oshawa Generals (OHL). The Hurricanes signed him to an entry-level contract on December 21, 2013. A little over two years later, Altshuller was recalled by the Hurricanes. He never played in any NHL games, though according to the American Hockey League’s website, he was called up a total of four times by the Hurricanes over two seasons: 

2015-16 Season
Called up by the Carolina Hurricanes on January 20, 2016.
Sent down to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on  January 26, 2016.
Called up by the Carolina Hurricanes on February 16, 2016.
Sent down to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on  February 20, 2016.

2016-17 Season
Called up by the Carolina Hurricanes on December 9, 2016.
Sent down to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on  December 10, 2016.
Called up by the Carolina Hurricanes on January 3, 2017.
Sent down to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers on  January 4, 2017.

And that is the sum total of Altshuller’s NHL career. He was on an NHL roster for 12 days during the 2015-16 season, and two days during the 2016-17 season. His “big break,” if you could call it that, was when Cam Ward was injured in late January 2016, giving Altshuller his first recall to be the ‘Canes backup. This was reason enough for Upper Deck to make over 80 different cards of Altshuller in their various 2016-17 hockey sets. The guy has six times more cards than he had days as an NHL backup. 

In 2017-18, Altshuller attended York University and practiced with their hockey team, but did not play in any games. This past season, he returned to the ECHL, playing two games for the Brampton Beast, while also finishing out his bachelor’s degree in finance.  

Photo of Daniel Altshuller by Jamie Kellner. See more of her work here.

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk

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Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

2 thoughts on “Zero-Game Goalies: Daniel Altshuller”

  1. 80 different cards?! Holy crap. My PC is a relative through marriage who had his cup of coffee in the NHL, played 85 games in the late 90’s, early 00’s so there’s only a handful of cards to collect. Crazy how many cards are put out now.

    1. I know, right? I could see maybe like OPC, since it is an early-season release, and they have to scrape to find 50 or so rookies that did not play until after the All-Star Break the previous season (or who were just overlooked/omitted from UD Series 1/Series 2, etc.). But to appear in OPC *and* many of the mid-to-high range sets like SP Authentic is just silly.

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